Eva Akhter weighs in on what will become of pandemic pets
One in five households got a pet during the coronavirus pandemic, this is according to data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Some shelters have noted an increase in the number of pets being returned. “Shelters can be a valuable resource for pet owners who are strugASPCAgling,” Christa Chadwick, the ASPCA’s vice president of shelter services, said in a recent media interview. “They can often provide direct support, recommendations for trainers or behavioralists, and access to reduced cost medical care and pet food.”
Data from an ASPCA survey conducted in May 2021, found that most new pet owners still have the animal in their home – 90% for dogs and 85% for cats – and are not considering rehoming in the near future. The ASPCA is viewed as one of the largest animal welfare grant makers providing support to U.S.-based nonprofit animal welfare organizations. There’s an estimated 3,500 animal shelters in the U.S and altogether there are around 14,000 shelters and rescue groups according to PetPedia. Not all animal shelters receive grants and some are solely reliant on help from the general public. Model and entrepreneur Eva Akhter has made it part of her business model to help support shelters.
“I got the idea of this while watching the movie John Wick – his love for his dog was so strong and as a result he did whatever it took to get revenge. In our case we created the tag line ‘I will go John Wick for my Doggo.’ We are not promoting violence, but merely displaying our love for our dogs. It’s a fun and strong tagline that any dog lover would understand, because most dog owners would do anything for their dogs,” Eva explained how the concept of the online store was brought about.
The clothing store is the model’s latest venture through which she hopes to raise awareness about dog abuse and dog killing. JW4DOGGO supports dog shelters and rescues by donating 10% of sales to them. The online store currently supports the Etobicoke Humane Society, an independent shelter with a no-kill policy.
Harnessing the Power of Social Media
Having lived most of her life in Pakistan, Eva found that she was not able to pursue her dreams of becoming a model. “Moving to Canada helped me get closer to my goals – and along the way my baby girl, Lambo, my dog entered my life,” Eva said in a recent interview. Using popular social media platforms, Eva dabbled with modelling. “I did not go through a modeling agency or become a magazine or runway model, I used the power of social media to help me gain fans and followers who enjoy my lifestyle and encourage me in all ways.” The model states these messages gave her the courage she needed to do something on a larger scale. “My future plans are to become a well-known public figure through my modelling which will power and support dog rescues and shelters,” the entrepreneur revealed.
Healing Power of Pets
Those familiar with the model’s portfolio on social media would, in all likelihood, have spotted the husky, Lambo. The husky played a significant role in helping Eva overcome her fear of dogs. “My husband convinced me to get a dog to get over my fear of dogs, so he bought me a baby husky, Lambo. I was scared of her at first, but as the days went by, I was falling in love more and more with her and now she is my life. My fear for all dogs diminished because of frequent visits to the dog park, and meeting other people’s dogs, and this made me realize how sweet and loving every single dog is. This also opened up a new world for me for the safety of other dogs.”
While Lambo may not be a rescue, the model fostered and helped to rehome numerous dogs. Unfortunately, many abandoned and surrendered dogs do not live to see old age. Many of these animals are killed due to lack of shelter space, animals’ poor health, or to protect other animals’ safety and health. Funding is an ever-present problem for animal rescues and shelters. Through her adoption of a business model in favor of shelters, Eva hopes to pave the way for other entrepreneurs to follow suit.